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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.                                   87
Cabul to the Irawadi, which is approximately near that from
the Bay of Biscay to the Caspian Sea. The extreme breadth
of India along a diagonal line is from Cabul to Malacca, and
that is also about the extreme diagonal breadth of Europe from
Spain to the northern termination of the Ural mountains at
the Arctic Sea. We wish to press these comparisons espe-
cially upon the attention of local botanists, and of those more
familiar with species of plants than with geography, for the
following reason,—that on several occasions, having identified
a plant of the lower Himalaya with one that inhabits an ele-
vation of 8000 feet in Ceylon, we have been met with expres-
sions of surprise and incredulity, by naturalists who do not
for a moment hesitate to unite many species of Scotland
with those of a sufficient altitude on the Sierra Nevada in
South Spain; who habitually quote the Alps and Pyrenees
as containing many species in common with Iceland and Nor-
way, and even Arctic America; and who, whilst acknowledging
that many of the elements of the Floras of the Pyrenees, Alps,
Carpathians, Ural, Norway, Iceland, and Arctic America are
identical, are prepared to deny a similar extension of species
over the mountains of Ceylon, the Madras peninsula, Khasia.
Himalaya, and Java.
If, on the one hand, we experience opposition to our iden-
tifications of species inhabiting localities in India sundered
by considerable areas of land and sea, so, on the other, we
find equal or greater difficulty in persuading a large class of
our fellow-botanists of the specific identity of Indian plants
with those of other better known but more distant countries;
and \vc have hence felt anxious on this account also, so to ex-
tend the limits of our Flora, that we might meet such bota-
nists on their own ground as it were, and trace these species
continuously from those parts of the world with which they
are familiar to those we know best. It is, however, impossible
altogether to overcome a proncness of the human mind to
regard everything from an unknown country, or cthat is seen
surrounded with foreign associations, as itself unknown, aud